Brain Function and Disorders

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Last updated on January 27th, 2023 at 04:28 pm

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable to control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying attention. These children’s behaviours interfere with school and home life.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect your child’s success at school, as well as their relationships. The symptoms of ADHD vary and are sometimes difficult to recognise. Many of the individual symptoms of ADHD can be expected for any child to experience. So, to make a diagnosis of ADHD, your child’s doctor will need to evaluate your child using several criteria.

ADHD is diagnosed in children by the time they’re teenagers, with the average age of diagnosis being 7 years old. Older children exhibiting symptoms may have ADHD, but they’ve often exhibited rather elaborate symptoms early in life. It’s more common in boys than in girls. It’s usually discovered during the early school years when a child has problems paying attention. 

13 Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD vary from person to person, but comprise some combination of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

  1. Self-focused behaviour – A common sign of ADHD is what looks like an inability to recognise other people’s needs and desires. This can lead to the next two signs: interrupting and trouble to wait their turn.
  2. Interrupting – Self-focused behaviour may cause a child with ADHD to interrupt others while they’re talking or butt into conversations or games they’re not part of.
  3. Trouble waiting their turn – Kids with ADHD may have trouble waiting their turn during classroom activities or when playing games with other children.
  4. Emotional turmoil – A child with ADHD may have trouble keeping their emotions in check. They may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times. Younger children may have temper tantrums.
  5. Fidgetiness – Children with ADHD often can’t sit still. They may try to get up and run around, fidget, or squirm in their chair when forced to sit.
  6. Problems playing quietly – Fidgetiness can make it difficult for kids with ADHD to play quietly or engage calmly in leisure activities.
  7. Unfinished tasks – A child with ADHD may show interest in lots of different things, but they may have problems finishing them. For example, they may start projects, chores, or homework, but move on to the next thing that catches their interest before finishing.
  8. Lack of focus – A child with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, even when someone is speaking directly to them. They’ll say they heard you, but they won’t be able to repeat back to you what you just said.
  9. Avoidance of tasks needing extended mental effort – This same lack of focus can cause a child to avoid activities that require a sustained mental effort, such as paying attention in class or doing homework.
  10. Mistakes – Children with ADHD can have trouble following instructions that require planning or executing a plan. This can then lead to careless mistakes, but it doesn’t show laziness or a lack of intelligence.
  11. DaydreamingChildren with ADHD aren’t always rumbustious and loud. Another sign of ADHD is being quieter and less involved than other kids. A child with ADHD may stare into space, daydream, and ignore what’s going on around them.
  12. Trouble getting organised – A child with ADHD may have trouble keeping track of tasks and activities. This may cause problems at school, as they can find it hard to prioritise homework, school projects, and other assignments.
  13. Forgetfulness – Kids with ADHD may be forgetful in daily activities. They may forget to do chores or homework. They may also lose things often, such as toys.

A child with ADHD will show symptoms of the condition in over one setting. For instance, they may show a lack of focus both in school and at home.

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults

Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organised, setting goals, and holding down a job. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.

Symptoms of ADHD may change as a person gets older. They include:

  1. Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
  2. Anxiety
  3. Low self-esteem
  4. Problems at work
  5. Trouble controlling anger
  6. Impulsiveness
  7. Substance abuse or addiction
  8. Unorganized
  9. Procrastination
  10. Easily frustrated,
  11. Chronic boredom
  12. Trouble concentrating when reading
  13. Mood swings
  14. Depression
  15. Relationship problems

Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The cause of ADHD isn’t known. Researchers say several things may lead to it,

  • Heredity. ADHD runs in families.
  • Chemical imbalance. Brain chemicals in people with ADHD may be out of balance.
  • Brain changes. Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD.
  • Poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse during pregnancy. These things can affect a baby’s brain development.
  • Toxins, such as lead. They may affect a child’s brain development.
  • A brain injury or a brain disorder. Damage to the front of the brain, called the frontal lobe, can cause problems with controlling impulses and emotions.

Sugar doesn’t cause ADHD. ADHD also isn’t caused by watching too much TV, a poor home life, poor schools, or food allergies. ADHD can’t be prevented or cured. But spotting it early, plus having an excellent treatment and education plan, can help a child or adult with ADHD manage their symptoms.


Many people with ADHD live successful, full lives. Treatment helps. It’s important to pay attention to symptoms and see a doctor regularly. Sometimes, medication and treatments that were once effective stop working. You may need to change the treatment plan. For many people, the symptoms of ADHD get better in early adulthood, and some can stop treatment.

You can also read about Common Travel Diseases

Sources: WebMd, Healthline

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